Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode I for iPhone review

Sonic the Hedgehog was always best when he was flying solo. Before Tails, Knuckles and countless other friends, the original Sonic was a fast-paced platformer that became an instant classic. Sega has been trying for years to repeat the success of the first three titles, but it wasn’t until it went old school and created a new side-scrolling game that Sonic returned to form.

The result is Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 – a side-scrolling episodic platformer that pits our blue hero against the evil genius Dr Eggman, who has enslaved animals as robots once again.

Those familiar with the original Sonic games will be spin-dashing in no time. You control Sonic either with on-screen directional and jump buttons or through tilt controls. Episode 1 contains four differently themed zones, each with three acts followed by a boss battle. After completing the first level of the Splash Hill zone, you can play the remaining zones in whatever order you choose. These new stages include Casino Street, Lost Labyrinth and Mad Gear levels – some of which are reminiscent of Sonic 2 – plus seven special stages that you have to find.

A homing attack simplifies gameplay by automatically targeting objects like robotic creatures or power-ups – this comes in handy since the touch controls don’t have quite the precision of a physical control pad.

OUR VERDICT

Everything that made the original Sonic games great is here. The action is fast and furious with high frame rates and detailed levels offering multiple paths to complete them. The graphics are equally old school and don’t pack the resolution iPhone 4 owners have come to expect, but you hardly notice when Sonic is racing through at breakneck speed. The retro soundtrack can get repetitive, though.

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